what to expect in therapy

A friendly welcome

Are you worried about what to say when you begin in therapy? That's perfectly normal! You may wonder where to start, but you'll find that things unfold quite naturally in conversation. That said, it can take a few sessions to settle in, so it's important to give yourself time. 

The Therapeutic Relationship

Therapy is different from talking to a family member or friend. While I engage with you as my 'full self,' I generally do not share any personal information with you. That would distract us from focusing on your experience, which is why we're here. You do not have to worry about your therapist's well-being, which can be quite freeing!

The therapeutic relationship is a unique experience. This is particularly true if you suffered relational/emotional trauma as a child. Being seen and heard in a warm and affirming way can have a positive influence on the healing process in itself. People often say that they had never been listened to in this way before.

Asking questions

As we talk together, I will ask you some questions to help you reflect on your experience. This is part of the therapeutic conversation. A question is always an invitation to explore, never a 'test' or something that you need to 'get right.' There are no right or wrong answers in therapy!

I work collaboratively with you to ensure that the focus and direction of our work together is in line with your goals and expectations for therapy.

Creative arts and somatic work

I integrate somatic (body) work and the creative arts into my practice, for those who like working in this way. I may guide you through some grounding or breathing techniques designed to regulate and manage feelings and calm the body. We may also think about some exercises that you can use at home.

Using creative art activities is a great way to connect with the more intuitive right brain, which promotes healing and emotional reflection. You can read more here.


What you share is confidential (with some exceptions related to safeguarding), and I abide by the ethical guidelines of the UKCP.  I am certified in online work and a member of ACTO (Association for counsellors and therapists online).

A holistic, trauma-informed approach 

My work is trauma-informed, which means that we seek to understand your emotional experience in the light of your wider life story. While the past doesn't define us, it can shed light on the present. Seeing the bigger picture can bring important insights, and it can allow us to access self-compassion.

Unhealed emotional pain is often held in the body as 'feeling memories.' In order for us to heal there must be room for the body, mind, and emotions in the therapeutic process. This is a holistic perspective to healing, which also encompasses our spirituality (our need for community, meaning, and faith).

Shadow work

Depth-oriented therapy, as the name suggests, is an opportunity to delve a bit deeper. This is sometimes called shadow work. Put simply, it means getting in touch with some of the emotional experiences that have shaped your thoughts, feelings and and behaviour, while remaining outside of your conscious awareness. 

A bit of psycho-education

Learning about the psychology behind your emotional experience can sometimes be helpful. It can help you better understand how the brain and body responds to trauma or stressful events. At times, I may share some psychological knowledge with you (known as psycho-education).

You play an important part in your therapy

It is important to remember that therapy isn't something that is 'done to you' while you sit back and watch. Therapy requires active participation on your part, and your own engagement is important for the therapy outcomes. Each session is a collaboration between therapist and client. 

The Hexagon system for relational trauma healing

Sometimes, adverse or challenging early experiences lie behind the emotional difficulties that we encounter in adulthood, such as anxiety, depression, low mood, and low self-worth; feeling overwhelmed or numb.

Often, it's the invisible wound of disconnection in childhood, of not having been seen, heard, or loved affectionately as a child. This is known as early relational trauma, which is different from a single-event trauma, such as an accident or natural disaster.

I have developed my own model for healing of early relational trauma: the Hexagon system.
This is a holistic model which is based on established trauma-informed practices, as well as my own clinical experience. It covers 7 areas that typically need attending to after early relational trauma. 

These are:

* Who am I? (Self & identity)

* Needs and boundaries 

* Attachment and life story
* Managing feelings
* Self-limiting beliefs
* Healthy relationships
* Post-traumatic growth and enrichment

During our sessions together, we may explore and reflect on these topics as they come up naturally in our conversation. And if I'm doing my job well, you may not even notice, because my focus will be on your experience, as I hold these principles in mind.

In the illustration below you can see how these areas of growth and healing are all interconnected.


The Hexagon system as a simple yet effective way to facilitate holistic, in-depth healing and growth within the context of a supportive therapeutic relationship. 
As you continue on in therapy, you may start to become more aware of the particular areas that you wish to address in more depth.


ready to make a change?

If you would like to find out how therapy or coaching could work for you, I invite you to book a free 20-minute call.